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Church Broadens Child Abuse Prevention Strategy
Convicted pedophiles attend churches. A manual released by the C&MA National Children’s Network Team offers churches a plan for developing strategy to protect children.

The Alliance church and a group dedicated to abuse prevention have teamed up and made the denomination’s child abuse prevention strategy available to a wider audience. 

When the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) published Plan to Protect, the third edition of its comprehensive child abuse prevention manual, Melodie Bissell, one of the manual’s authors, drew on her experience as national facilitator for the C&MA’s  National Children’s Network Team and as president and CEO of Winning Kids Inc. The partnership between the denomination and Bissell’s organization will broaden Plan to Protect’s distribution. 

“We felt God was inviting us to do something much larger than providing the manual for the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Canada,” Bissell says.  “A strong marketing plan was needed to expand the distribution of the manual to get into as many churches and ministries as possible.”

Winning kids, a national organization with contacts in Kelowna, British Columbia, Kitchener, Toronto and Montreal, provides resources to help “create winning environments for children and youth in order to win the race against abuse,” according to its website.  Winning Kids was given an exclusive license from C&MA to develop and distribute the plan. 

The 250-page manual provides a variety of resources, including a strategy for putting the plan into place, training for church leadership and boards, case studies based on real incidents and a CD for customizing forms and policies. Winning Kids is now selling Plan to Protect on its website, meeting with key denominational leaders, attending trade shows and conferences and partnering with other national organizations.

“We found over 60 percent of our churches were implementing the plan to some degree, but many [felt] overwhelmed with the responsibility of implementing a strong protection plan on their own,” Bissell says.

She says her phone rings daily with stories of convicted pedophiles attending a church and admitting their temptation, children sharing how they’re being abused by a family member, or church members leveling accusations at pastors or staff.

“The stories that always move me the most are when I am standing at an exhibit or conducting training.  Someone comes up to me and asks if they can hug me. 

“I then hear about how they were abused at church or camp or wherever years earlier and how they prayed God would respond to their cries for help.  They truly believe we’re an answer to their prayers,” says Bissell.

For details on Plan to Protect visit www.winningkidsinc.ca or call (877) 455-3555.

Originally published in ChristianWeek, December 2007.
http://www.christianweek.org

Joy In the Christian Journey

Used with permission.  Copyright © 2008 Christianity.ca.

 

 
 
 
 

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